Sometimes it is hard to leave work behind. While on vacation recently, my sister had purchased tickets to see a new play, In Basildon by David Eldridge. Not knowing what it was about, except that it had been well received by theatre goers, I soon realized that the issues faced by families (as portrayed by the characters in the play) and clearly by the discussion during intermission of those watching) are the same regardless of geographic location and social economic status.
The play opens with Len on his deathbed and the family has gathered to say their final farewells. Len’s sisters still aren’t speaking after nearly twenty years, and his nephew, who is living in Len’s house with his mother and new wife, believes that the house was left to him. As the funeral spread is laid out and the ham sandwiches sit next to the wreaths, the family drama unfolds. The play addresses issues regarding family conflict, changing of the will, executor decisions, end of life choice and inheritance disappointment. Most poignant was the reflection (which can be done on stage) of how things came to be. Understanding Len’s decision of why he changed his will – and the hurt that never gets discussed. The theme for the evening portrayed in this excellent family drama was that many times families don’t remember why they are in conflict. Years have gone by and the initial cause of the discontent gets forgotten.
This play reminded me of the importance of talking together and how wonderfully complicated families can be.